Your Learning and Development (L&D) program is a labor of love for you. You put in a lot of effort to create training materials that should pique your learners’ interests. You introduce technologies that should make it easier for them to learn. You implement training-supporting cultural changes within your company. However, despite your efforts, some learners will refuse to engage with your training materials. In other words, your firm’s learner engagement is low. Your trainees are not taking modules, whether they’re mandatory, voluntary, gamified, or mobile. Is it possible that it’s you? Is the content correct? What exactly did you do wrong? Don’t worry if this describes you: you’re not alone.

It’s never easy to keep students interested in what they’re learning
learner engagement

More learner engagement is at the top of L&D professionals’ remote learning wish list. It’s no wonder that learner engagement has long been one of the most challenging difficulties L&D professionals have encountered. Just type “learner engagement” into Google, and you’ll find hundreds of articles, recommendations, techniques, and best practices for addressing the population of learners who aren’t interested in training.

Leaders in learning and development are continuously attempting to figure out if there is a skeleton key that will unlock the door to a 100% engagement rate. Getting a 100 percent engagement rate is perhaps an unduly ambitious aim, but when vast groups of learners aren’t taking or completing learning, it’s a clue that something is amiss. And it may not be the case that your eLearning content is the sole factor.

9 reasons for low learner engagement

There is no single explanation for why your students aren’t engaged, but there are a few that you may not have considered. You may not be able to achieve 100% engagement, but you can boost it by better knowing where some of your learners are and why they aren’t participating.

Your students are suffering from pandemic weariness.

In 2020 and 2021, as the pandemic drove a transition to remote work and, as a result, online training, chasing the illusive 100-percent engagement rate became even more difficult for L&D professionals. This was a difficult transition – not only for L&D departments, which had to convert in-person training to an online format fast, but also for learners who prefer live instructor-led training.

What’s more surprising is that by 2021, when the lockdown had been lifted and individuals had become accustomed to working from home, acceptance of online training had become a significant issue. According to Training Magazine’s 2021 Training Industry Report, getting remote learners to log in to remote learning was the top concern for L&D professionals, with 31% of respondents concerned, up from 19% in 2020.

The truth is that the pandemic has left many individuals exhausted. While working from home may appear to benefit, workers are still dealing with pandemic stress, loneliness, and health-related concerns. Some may reject distant learning because it conjures up images of the pandemic in their minds.

Your staff is unable to influence and persuade change

Workers should believe that they have the power to effect change in their workplaces. If your employees don’t feel their ideas are valued, they may be less motivated to make changes and enhance their environments. Listen to all employee concerns or recommendations and make changes as a result of them whenever possible to avoid this problem occurring in your organization.

Your learners feel isolated

One of the reasons students like ILT is that it allows them to interact with one another. When they’re all in the same room, students can talk to each other and their professors. This is not an option for remote learners, making learning less enjoyable for many. According to Glint research, during the pandemic, 31% of employees felt less connected to their leaders, 37% felt less connected to their peers, and 40% even felt separated from friends.

Because humans learn better in groups, remote learning is more challenging. However, LinkedIn discovered that when L&D departments enabled social learning features in virtual learning, things changed. According to a LinkedIn report, learners who used social features spent 30 times more time learning than those who didn’t. Chat functions, the ability to promote or share a course, and virtual instructor-led training are all examples of social elements. Many students are captivated by the ability to connect.

Your employees do not feel motivated enough

While the office may be primarily a workplace and not for developing relationships, building friendships inside the workplace can significantly boost employee motivation and engagement. If your employees feel like they’re part of a community of like-minded people, they’ll be more motivated to improve themselves and more naturally interested in their work.

Workers must be motivated to be engaged. This drive comes naturally to some employees and emanates from their desire to perform well at all times. External motivation is required for some. If your employees appear disengaged, devise and implement a new motivation program that pays them for achieving particular goals.

Employees lack a sense of belonging among their coworkers

Employees’ favorite aspect of their jobs, according to previous surveys, is their coworkers. Unfortunately, just a tiny percentage of employees claim to have a deep bond with their coworkers.

In general, today’s employees build bonds with the members of their immediate teams. They don’t get to know their coworkers from other departments very well. Few employees believe their employers are doing an excellent job of fostering teamwork. There is a simple solution: invest in team-building activities so that all of your staff get to know each other. Your team will be more engaged if they form more significant ties with one another.

There is a technological divide between learners

According to a survey by PwC, the most significant difficulty facing L&D departments when it comes to mobile learning is user uptake. This is true regardless of the company’s size; 70% of companies claim that fewer than 20% of learners use a mobile device to learn.

This is undoubtedly a disheartening acceptance rate for L&D directors who have battled to incorporate mobile and remote training. You may believe that you are assisting your students by providing modalities such as mobile learning. However, if your learners use their own devices, there may be a simple explanation for why some learners aren’t engaged.

While most people have smartphones, not all students will have a smartphone that enables online learning. They may utilize an older gadget or a phone that doesn’t support apps in their personal lives. Other gadgets, such as tablets or desktops, are in the same boat. Your learners’ devices may be old or obsolete, and they may not be able to access or support your learning platform.

Some students may also be less comfortable with technology than others. They may find that live classroom training is more comfortable than remote or mobile learning. In this scenario, working with learners to give an accessible experience and assist them in becoming comfortable with training modalities is critical.

Employee recognition initiatives have taken a backseat in recent years

Only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition. How can you be engaged when you’re working hard, and no one appears to notice? Ensure you acknowledge your employees’ efforts when they go above and beyond. In fact, companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover. What have you got to lose? This list of employee appreciation ideas can help you get started.

Given their many advantages, cultures leave a lot of room for improvement

When it comes to employee engagement, it turns out that quantitative factors like pay, benefits, and other incentives aren’t all that essential. According to our survey, having fun at work, liking corporate culture, being supported in career ambitions, and working with individuals who are also happy are the top drivers of employee happiness.

All of the perks are fantastic. However, the unseen corporate culture continues to reign supreme. Create a positive work environment, and engagement will follow.

The review procedure is obsolete

More than three-quarters of employees (79%) believe their companies’ performance assessment methods should be modernized. Some people believe this makes it difficult to comprehend how to gain a promotion, while others believe it makes it difficult to determine whether or not they are performing well at work. Others argue that annual assessments provide insufficient input and that they would want to have their performance evaluated on a more regular basis.

The good news is that there is a simple solution. Use surveys to allow you to evaluate performance and respond to input on a more frequent basis. Employees will know right away if they’re performing a good job. And if any issues arise, they may be addressed right away.


Not every learner will eagerly launch an app and begin studying. Of course, that’s the fantasy, but it’s pretty unlikely. It’s also not the fault of L&D for all of those disengaged students. Some people may be struggling with personal problems outside of work. Some people may be unable to attend training. Some people may be “actively disengaged,” according to Gallup, which means they’re unhappy at work to the point of undermining colleagues’ efforts. Those personnel are unlikely to complete the training that has been assigned to them.

You may not be able to get 100% involvement, but you can get close. Begin by honestly attempting better to understand learners, their needs, and expectations, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving that elusive ideal ratio.

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